Hinduism postulates that there are five sheaths for a Human Being.
They are ,
Annamaya Kosa,made of the essence of Food,
Pranamaya Kosa, of Breath,
Manomaya Kosa, of Thoughts,
Vignanamaya Kosa , of Knowledge and
Anandamaya Kosa, of Bliss.
Each of these are nurtured by their respective attributes/source of their Being and together they constitute the Living Human being.
When one dies what is visible to us the lifeless body, which had been nurtured by Food at the Annamaya Kosa Level,by the essence of Food.
After one’s death, it lingers till the twelfth day around the place of Death.
Till the twelfth day Tharpana,called Kuzhi Tharpan,called so because it is performed n a small pit made preferably at the house where the death took place.
Ceremonies for death are conducted till the 12 Day, the thirteenth being Purification,not only for the satisfaction of the Annamaya Kosa, but for the other Kosas,,Prana, Vignana,Manas and Ananda, the last one reminding the Eternal Nature of the Self.
Mantras recited during these twelve days ensure this.
After these ceremonies the Subtle body, Sukshama, enters the Pithru loka, sans the Physical body.
The remnants of the actions performed remain with the Subtle body even after it takes rebirth.
Significance of the Thirteen Day Rituals.
The dying man suffers as Death knocks.
One is expected to avoid mundane thoughts and remember God’s name.
So as Death nears, those near are expected to recite Vishnu Sahsranama , Bhagavad Gita near the person’s head.
The son, keeping his parent’s head on his left lap ,recites the Karna Mantra, in the Left ear.
Or the Panchakshara, Om Nama Sivaya
Sarva Dharman Parithyajyasya Klanir Bhavathi Bharata,
Ahamthva Sarva Paapepyo Mokshayisyaami Ma sucha. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18.
Ganga water is given .
The dying is made to lie down head facing South.
The body without Life is called Sava while the state of Jiva(Soul) is Preta.
The Yamadutas, the servants of the Lord of Death, Yama drags the life out.
As soon as the life is out, a small oil lamp lit with Gingelly oil is left near the body’s head.
The body is to be laid on the Dharpa grass.
The body is bathed, daughters, perform this and draped with a new Cloth after removing everything else from the body.
The body is garlanded and Rice is dropped in the mouth by the relatives.
The ceremonies are performed as dictated int the relevant Veda Sutra of the deceased.
The son takes bath and performs the Homa and takes the body with Fire in a pot to the cremation Ground.
The son is expected to shave, in some custom hair of the head is also removed.
At the cremation ground, the son performs Nagna Prachchadana Sraddham,after removing the clothes from the body.
The dead feel ashamed and hence free offering of clothes for the next ten days are advised.
It also feels thirsty and hungry.
Food is also offered as Dhana during these ten days.
Now after the Homa is over, establishing Kunda, on the river bank another at Home is done where Tharpana is done daily.
Two Tharpanas, one Tilotaka, water with Til and another Vasodhaka, water wrung from Cloth is to be performed daily for the Two kundas daily till the tenth day.
Tilodaka is offered thrice on day one and it increases one every day and on the tenth day it is twelve.
This is to quench the thirst of the departed.
To satiate hunger Pinda ,rice balls are offered.
The dead assumes the Vayavya Sarira.
It is formless.
The offering of Pinda helps in forming the solid body.
First day offering helps in the formation of the head, second the formation of the neck and shoulders,the third the Heart, the fourth the Back, the fifth the navel, sixth the waist, seventh generative organs, the eighth the Thighs and the ninth day the Legs.
The tendency to offer the Tharpana on the tenth day ,instead of every day is proscribed as it makes the dead thirsty, hungry, and prevents the formation of sarira, body.
Ekottavruddhi sradhham is to be performed daily till the tenth day.
Cooked rice with vegetables are to be offered to three people on the first day , to be increased by one every day till the tenth day,corresponding to the Tila Sraddha and on the twelfth day 12 are to be fed or are to be gifted the materials.
Nava sraddham is performed on day one, three, five, seven , nine and eleven by offering rice.